Thursday, February 19, 2015

Who Loves America?

Today, one item in the news that caught my attention was former NYC mayor, Rudi Guiliani saying that President Obama didn't love America.  That,  "You know, President Obama didn’t live through September 11, I did. President Obama didn’t almost have a building fall on him, myself and my police commissioner and my fire commissioner did."   My dear husband reminds me that none of America's other political leaders were at Ground Zero either.   True enough.  He reminds me right. And not all of them poured into the city in the days and weeks following, either.  What you got pouring in were firemen and medics and nurses and general laborers from around the country instead.

Now it is true that Obama in 2001 was not in NYC, but that does not mean he didn't live through 9/11.  I wasn't there either.  I was taking calls in a call center in Albuquerque with people from NYC trying to get through to family and friends, from people all around the US trying to call to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to ensure the safety of their loved ones.   So you don't get to take it too personally.  We here in America who were present on US soil that day, citizen or not, ALL lived through 9/11.  We all lived that day.  Indelibly.  Irremediably.   Just cos' you were the Mayor, doesn't mean your day was any more meaningful and fraught than ours. 

What kind of man are you that you'd dare suggest Pres. Obama was not a part of that American body that day?  That you'd imply he didn't care?  Imply that he was unmoved?  What exactly is wrong with you that you think so small?


Friday, February 06, 2015

Burning Prisoners of War and Other Unmerciful Things

Lots to touch on:

ISIL proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that their ideology is bankrupt.  They burned their Jordanian Air Force pilot captive POW to death.  Americans are howling with outrage.  Not so ironically, the loudest howls are coming from the right wing with their roots still set in America's racist history.  You know.  The past - where lynchings were family affairs and people picnicked while watching men and women hung, mutilated and burned to death.  They're still bankrupt too. 

I follow a couple of law 'blawgs' with the hope that as an ordinary citizen, I can understand different areas our nation's system of law better and hopefully be a more conscious participant in our society.  Today, at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield's blog wrote "At The End, There's A Cop"  , and I discovered the term "carceral justice".  It said, in part, "Carceral feminism is the relatively small but incredibly vocal voice within millennial feminism that says due process can be sacrificed if it means catching a few more rapists, hate speech should come with a jail sentence, and images promoting “unrealistic” female body standards should be banned by the government, among other things. * * *"

It made me think of a friendship ending letter I got back in the early 90s when people were all up in arms accusations of childhood sexual abuse and 'repressed memory syndrome'.  It hadn't been that long since the McMartin Pre-School saga.  She felt that it was tolerable that a wrongly accused father should go to prison on the basis of his then adult daughter's therapy induced "recovered memory" and based on the notion that children never lie about abuse.   I was so flabbergasted that she would think it noble to incarcerate an innocent person for the sake of delivering a message that I was dumbstruck.  I never replied back to her.   I was outraged at her willingness to dispense with several constitutional protections.  I didn't realize it then, but today I realized that was my first experience with the idea of carceral justice and what it implied.  It stunk then when the idea lacked the words and it still stinks.  I didn't reply on Greenfield's blog because my story is anecdotal, doesn't address specific points of law and I didn't want to look foolish or emotional.  I still want to believe in truth and justice and mercy, however difficult a task it is.

And speaking of mercy and the lack thereof, yet another republican rep speaks up as pro-rape saying, "Obviously rape is awful," West Virginia Del. Brian Kurcaba (R) said during a committee hearing on a new abortion restriction, according to David Gutman, a Charleston Gazette reporter. "What is beautiful is the child that could come from this." 

Bullshit.  There is nothing beautiful in the conception of a child through rape.  Even women who've carried and kept their children via rape would not say their conception was beautiful.   I'd like to hear Kurcaba try telling that to the Yazidi women raped and forced into conversion by threat of death by ISIL forces or to the Nigerian school girls raped by Boko Haram fighters and sold into sex slavery or marriage (or both).  Try telling that to the 350,000 to 500,000 Rwandan women raped during the genocide there and the event which finally led to rape being defined as a war crime.  Try telling it to the Bosnian women who were raped during the Bosnian war as a genocidal tactic meant to wipe out Bosnia's Muslim population by the Bosnian Serbs under the leadership of Milosevic.  Try telling that to the Chinese women who endured rape by the Japanese during the Rape of Nanking.  They were all raped in a program meant to erase their identities, both ethnic and personal.  There is nothing beautiful about that. 

There is nothing beautiful about the conception of a child through rape.  

What may possibly be beautiful is that such a mother could come to love such a child.  But don't bank on it. 

What is not beautiful is that most such women and children will never enjoy the support of their state, their communities or their families.  Here in the US, that is quite apparent with the gutting of our social safety net. And here in the US we still have 31 states that entitle rapists to parental rights over the children that result from their crimes of rape.  That's not beautiful.  That doesn't respect women.  That doesn't speak to women's dignity or integrity.